New rules aim to put an end to dingy, airless and windowless apartments

Property Prices

New standards are in for Victorian apartments to make sure new constructions have enough light, air and storage.

The new rules will take effect in March and have been largely welcomed by the industry.

The new standards have taken a different approach to new rules in Sydney, where apartments now have to be built to a minimum size.

Instead of dictating on total size the Victorian standards, set by the Planning Department, will dictate on specific requirements, including ceilings at least 2.7 metres high and windows for all habitable rooms.

The new standards do require bedrooms to be of a certain size – at least 3 square metres and the master bedroom must be even bigger, at least 3 by 3.4 metres.

There are also minimum storage space requirements, ranging from at least five cubic metres for studios at the smaller end of the scale to 12 cubic metres for bigger three-bedroom units.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said there rules were flexible in certain instances but the department expects the requirements to be met in normal circumstances.

“We feel these standards strike a balance, putting a stop to windowless, airless boxes while keeping apartment living affordable,” he told Australian Financial Review.

“We’ve now got a set of rules which outlines specifics, such as ceiling heights and balcony spaces, rather than a blanket one-size-fits-all minimum apartment size.”

The Property Council’s Sally Capp is getting behind the new regulations.

“On balance, this is a workable policy that the government is to be commended on,” she said.

“Whilst we welcome the standards, there are still some measures that are too prescriptive such as the minimum balcony requirements.”

“The new setback provisions recognise that each development needs to be assessed on a merits basis and within a local context,” she told Australian Financial Review.

“We agree that there should not be a one-size-fits-all solution.”


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